Location, Location, Location: Keeping Materials Within Reach
Students with physical disabilities using assistive devices such as wheelchairs or crutches must have a classroom that is accessible for classroom supplies and other learning materials. Teachers must make sure that the classroom is arranged for easy student maneuvering using assistive devices and that classroom supplies are placed in locations that are accessible and free of blockage or student traffic. Read on to find out how teachers can set up classroom arrangements that work for students with physical disabilities.
- Create student supply boxes that contain basic materials such as pencils, notebooks, tape, stapler and glue. If you create supply boxes for all students, you can have them create name tags to attach to their classroom working boxes for assignments or group projects. Make this activity an inclusive one for your students.
- Use an open cabinet with wide shelves to store student supply boxes. Make sure that you store boxes at arms length or closer to the floor for students using wheelchairs or other assistive devices to get around the classroom.
- Location, location should be the motto in classroom arrangement of desks,tables or working stations for students who need to be able to turn wheelchairs or store crutches at student work centers. Try putting student working stations in an open corner of the room next to a window, so that the area feels open and larger for students who may need to move around the work station to work with peers.
- Make sure that computer stations are arranged on tables that allow easy maneuverability for students using a wheelchair to go from the computer to his/her working area.
- Teachers must check with Administration and the Registrar to insure that classrooms rosters that contain students with disabilities are not overscheduled during registration. Students with physical disabilities may need space and lots of it in having easy access to learning supplies and to peers during group work.
If teachers and instructional assistants create classroom learning environments that have designated work learning areas and accessible learning materials arranged for easy student access, students with physical disabilities can have a classroom tailored to meet their specific learning needs and academic success.
Source: author's authentic experience